I tested the waters at a technical school prior to arriving at HCC and the difference was night and day.

— Nio Encendio, 2003 HCC Grad, Electrical Engineering

I was a musician in high school and was offered a full scholarship to Florida international University where I played in their top jazz band. Upon entering into the second semester though, I realized that music was not the direction that I wanted to take my life. I decided to join the United States Air Force which is something I always thought about as a child. Once stationed at MacDill Air Force Base, I discovered Hillsborough Community college and took advantage of the tuition assistance program that the US Air Force offered. Upon completion of my tour with the military, I began working full-time in radio and wanted to also complete a degree in electronic engineering to eventually become a radio engineer.

HCC offered several classes on MacDill AFB where I was serving as a Munitions Systems Specialist for the US Air Force. Utilizing the G.I. Bill that the armed services provided for me, I was able to practically go to school for free and achieve the degree that I sought.

I loved how HCC was highly respected and recognized. The programs, structure, staff and student body were among the brightest I had ever met and seen. I tested the waters at a technical school prior to arriving at HCC and the difference was night and day. With smaller classes I was able to build bonds with several people who have since become lifelong friends. The accessibility to the teachers was also instrumental in my development and understanding of the material. I felt as though the teachers and professors had a more personal concern as to my education then perhaps would’ve been the case if I was just another student in a giant class. I was honored to have been part of such a remarkable program of higher learning and that set a precedence for wanting to be great and achieve excellence.

Completing that very challenging course convinced me that I could apply myself towards my focus and succeed. After completion of the AS degree, I had my eyes set on becoming a radio engineer yet the broadcasting side kept pulling me towards it with an abundance of success. That eventually led to some great work in Tampa, Miami and Los Angeles. Today I am a radio station director and Broadcaster for 92.5 Maxima. You can read more about my career in radio and broadcasting here.